A man rescued after a fall from the cliffs above Blacks Beach in La Jolla Friday morning fell several hours earlier and worked his way to the beach below despite suffering a traumatic injury officials said.
Someone walking along the beach called 911 to report the man who had fallen between 10 p.m. and midnight near the north end of the beach.
Somehow the victim was able to make his way down to beach Lt. John Everhart with San Diego Fire Rescue said.
The area where the man fell was so remote, that if he had yelled for help, it's likely nobody would have been able to hear him, Everhart said.
The victim, described as a man in his 40s, is lucky to be alive Everhart said.
The man was found two miles away from the road and was out of reach for an ambulance so a San Diego Fire Rescue helicopter was called.
Around 9 a.m., firefighters and lifeguards stabilized the patient and then walked the person over to the helicopter on a stretcher.
The helicopter then flew the patient the short distance to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Paramedics evaluated his injuries to be "potentially very serious", and the distance to the closest hospital was too far to drive according to fire spokesperson Maurice Luque.
The ride via the ambulance also would have been too bumpy, he said.
Taxpayer dollars fund all rescue, lifeguard, engine and air response Luque said.
The cost is $3500 per hour for air transport but in this case the victim will not be charged he said.
The cost is lower than a private air transport company, such as Mercy Air, which Luque estimated to be $15,000 - $20,000 per hour.